MIRI: The ‘ Go Herbs Insect Repellent Gel’ entry by students of SMK Sungai Tapang in Kuching earned them the top prize for the secondary school category of the Intellectual Property ( IP) Awards 2018 here yesterday.

The Kuching school team attained 241 points from the judges for their product – the highest among 90 entries from secondary schools across Sarawak. Placing second was SMK St Columba, Miri with their invention ‘ Flexocintrex’ which received 230 points, while SMK Lawas obtained 203 points for their invention ‘ Numbering Plate’ which put them on third place.

In the tertiary institution category, Politeknik Kuching came out tops with their entry ‘ Production of Smoke Mueller from Organic Waste’, followed by event host Miri Industrial Training Institute ( ILP) at second place with their invention ‘ Tig Gun Feeder’, and Politeknik Mukah at third place with ‘ Development Prototype of the Aquino Powered by Arduino’.

In her remarks, ILP Miri director Dr Rosnah Muhamad Tahir regarded the competition as a great opportunity for students to ‘exercise their minds and bring out the best of their creativity’. “I was told that there were more than 120 entries from secondary schools and tertiary institutions in Sarawak. This is very encouraging, which goes to show the students’ enthusiasm and also their amazing, innovative talents,” she said.

According to her, their products are not merely entries for the competition but are viewed as potential tools that can make people’s lives better. “The value behind them ( products) is invaluable. Therefore, the intellectual property of these products must be protected under patents after this (competition).

“As for the expenses required for the patenting process, the IP Corporation of Malaysia ( MyIPO) has been receiving a fund of RM500,000 every year since 2016, which would be used to help cover the expenses involved in patenting process. I hope that these schools and institutions would make good use of the fund – using it to prevent their properties from being exploited by any company for personal interest,” said Rosnah, adding that the fund would continue to be available until 2020.